Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

Zaha returns to Palace training ahead of Chelsea clash

Zaha returns to Palace training ahead of Chelsea clash

Paul Merson is backing Chelsea FC to beat Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening ahead of their trip to Barcelona next week.

Chelsea is still hopeful to move into the top four, now sitting five points behind Tottenham.

Roy Hodgson refuses to believe that Chelsea's current calamities have made them extra vulnerable to an upset at home to his Crystal Palace side.

Palace, are in the relegation places, in 18th with just 27 points, one point behind Southampton and safety.

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They have lost four of their last five league games; as many defeats as in their previous 30 matches. Countering this, Palace are without a win in six matches and have lost their last three games with the squad shorn of key players.

The tie is delicately balanced after the first leg ended in a 1-1 draw and while La Blaugrana are favourites to progress, the Premier League side will look to upset the odds at the Nou Camp.

The first goal owed everything to Willian's burst of pace and direct shooting - he had already had two daisy-cutters saved by Hennessey - and while the second was the result of a huge chunk of good fortune, it came after a glorious build up.

History is on Palace's side - they've gone home with maximum points on their last two visits here. The match will be held at Stamford Bridge in London. They deserved more against Tottenham and against United.

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"We have to show great resilience", Conte continued.

Sorloth had a late effort ruled out for a foul as Chelsea, who brought on Pedro for Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko for Eden Hazard as they seemed set to coast to the finishing line. So when you have a player out for anything length of time there's always a risk you'll push for him to come back earlier than he should.

They nearly added a fourth on the stroke of half-time, but Tomkins made a brilliant intervention on the line to deny Giroud at the end of an exceptional move.

"We can only hope that we can reproduce the recent performances against similar opponents, and give them as good a game as we did against Spurs and [Manchester] United". Bakary Sako, Connor Wickham, Julian Speroni, Mamadou Sakho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon are all ruled out for this game with injuries. "I trust a lot in all my players".

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